Note to the Mother Ship
Here in America they have two political parties. That doesn’t strike me as nearly enough. One party is referred to as the “right” and the other party is referred to as the “left.” You’d think the invention of at least a third party with a contextually apt name might be an obvious necessity, but so far no one has suggested it. Consequently both parties do little other than to butt heads—a hobby put into overdrive several years back that contributed to a lessening of the population during The Great Harm.
They have a Congress and a Senate here, but I’m not sure what the purpose is as everybody just votes on whatever issue there is according to what all the other members of their party do. It’s kind of like follow the leader. There’s a Supreme Court here too, comprised of nine people, and their job is to determine what’s right and just and in the common good. Five of those people were put in power by a president who was from the “right” and four were put in power by a president from the “left.” Given their proclivity to follow the desires of their personal tribe, despite explanations consisting of a great many pages of text that would suggest their opinions are objective, non-biased, and keen of mind, it’s kind of like a basketball game where one team fields the normal five players but the other team only gets to field four. As a result, I anticipate each Supreme Court decision with the same degree of expectation and nail-biting anxiety as I do when watching the Harlem Globe Trotters play the Washington Generals. And indeed I’m able to predict the outcome of any issue up for debate—and knowing who specifically favored one view and who favored another—with crystalline accuracy, despite the fact that the odds on this are 263,156 to 1.
I’m trying to find an art print of one of Lee Krasner’s collages. She was Jackson Pollack’s less-famous wife. Personally, I think she was better. It doesn’t exist. It really should. If I can find a print of a pig flying an airplane, I would expect to find the Krasner collage.
The Loadstone: Simply Short Issue 19
Alexander the Great
By Alvin Zaronsky
Ureen. For that whitest of smiles, ask your apothecary for Ureen.
“To keep your teeth bright, shiny, white, and clean,
If you’re out of urine just use Ureen.”
Hormoze’s Goat Spray. To keep your goat from becoming the Devil, spray him with Hormoze’s. Yes, Hormoze’s–Keeping livestock possession-free for almost two generations.
And now, here’s Noblid.
Noblid: Hello, and welcome to Persepolis Today! I’m your host Noblid the Nosy, Son of Lothar the Inappropriate, Dweller By The River In The Hut By The Tree That Has A Bucket Nailed To It. There’s no denying that all of Persepolis is abuzz—at least what’s left of it—following the recent visit of Alexander the Great. And the questions people want answered are: What is Alexander really like, and what makes him so great? For this we shall go to the man in the road.
(With man in road)
Noblid: Excuse me, sir. Alexander the Great and his equally great army has just swept through Persepolis in the last week. Can you tell me why people think he’s so great?
Man: Well, that’s his name, isn’t it? The Great. Says it all right there.
Noblid: Yes, but why do you think he has that name?
Man: He must be great.
(To other man beside him)
Noblid: You sir, why do you think Alexander the Great is so great?
Man: Well, he united us, you know. No more petty squabbles and such between one group and another group. The people of the Achaemenid Empire are all one now. We’re united.
Noblid: Most of you are also dead.
Man: You gotta break some eggs if you’re gonna’ make an omelet, you know?
(Approaching old stooped woman sweeping in front of hut)
Noblid: Good day, dear old woman. Might I ask your name?
Woman: Flaccidass, War Queen of the Britons. Who are you?
Noblid: Noblid the Nosy. That’s not really your name, is it?
Woman: What do you think?
Woman: Good guess. Barbaria.
Noblid: Ah. Tell me, Barbaria–
Woman: Daughter of Flibbertigibbet, Wife of Moodle Doo the Insipid.
Noblid: Tell me, Barbaria, Daughter of Flibbertigibbet, Wife of Moodle Doo the Insipid—
Woman: Quester of the Golden Amulet of Ra Ha Ha, Giver of the Big Meat Pot To Whoozits Down The Road Who Never Gave It Back.
Noblid: Tell me, Barbaria, Daughter of Flibbertigibbet, Wife of Moodle Doo the Insipid, Quester of the Golden Amulet–
Woman: Nah, I’m just funnin’ ya’. It’s just Barbaria. You can call me Barb. All my friends do.
Noblid: Barb. Splendid. Tell me, Barb, we understand you actually met Alexander the Great. Is that true?
Noblid: Tell us about that.
Woman: He and some other fellers pushed open the door of the hut here. At first I was scared. But then he said, “Fear not, old woman. We mean you no harm. We search only for your sons so that we may kill them, be they of military age.” And I said, “I ain’t got no sons of military age.” And so he says, “Then we leave you in peace, good woman.” And they left.
Noblid: And how do you feel about him?
Woman: Seemed nice enough.
(Man with dog standing by smoldering rubble)
Noblid: Excuse me, sir. I wonder if I might ask you some questions about the recent visit of Alexander the Great.
Man: Okay. Did you want to know my name?
Noblid: No. Firstly, why do you think he’s called The Great?
Man: He’s a military genius.
Noblid: Some also say he’s a homicidal maniac.
Man: Oh, well, I’d like to hold off on saying a thing like that.
Noblid: Exactly what interaction did you have with him?
Man: He burned down my house. Burned all my crops. Kicked my dog.
Noblid: And how do you feel about that?
Man: He’s okay by me.
Noblid (facing forward) There you have it. Testimony to one man’s greatness. A greatness so great, it’s his actual name. Thank you for joining me this week on Persepolis Today where each week we look at current events and the people of Persepolis. Tune in next week should there still be anything left of it. I’m Noblid the Nosy, Son of Lothar the Inappropriate, Dweller By The River In The Hut By The Tree That Has A Bucket Nailed To It. Good night.
Man: Is my interview over?
Noblid: Uh, yeah?
Man: You could have said something, like thank you or goodbye or thanks for your time, instead of just turning away and talking to whoever. Seemed rude.
Noblid: Alexander the Macedonian just burned your house down. But I’m rude?
Man: You ain’t Great. I know that. You want some beans?
Noblid: No thank you.
A rapid knock came against Alvin’s bedroom door, followed by an alarming, “Alvin!” from Nick on the other side.
A shake went through Alvin’s body in reaction to the loud and unexpected noise as he lay on his bed reading Nothing Like It In The World—The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869. He closed his eyes for moment and steadied. “What!”
Nick and Tristan entered and approached assertively. Nick quickly sat on the left end of the bed and Tristan sat on the right.
“I didn’t like that,” Alvin said. “That’s disturbing.”
“What?” asked Nick.
“Pounding on my door and yelling. It’s very unsettling. I don’t like loud noises. You can just rap gently and I’ll hear you.”
“Sorry,” said Nick. “Anyway, we gotta’ talk to you.”
Alvin looked over the top of his book from one man to the other. “Did I do something?”
“No,” Nick said. “Okay, you’re on Let’s Make a Deal—”
“You’re on Let’s Make a Deal.”
“I don’t know what that is,” said Alvin. “Is it another planet or what?”
“No, it’s a TV show, it’s a game show. See, at the end of the show, they give away a big prize.”
“Let’s pause a moment,” Alvin said. “Everybody’s fine, right? Rika’s okay, you’re okay, your parents are okay. Nobody you know needs a kidney. Yea?”
“Yeah yea, everybody’s fine.”
“Fine. Continue with your highly subjective urgent matter.”
“So, it’s a game show, and at the end of the show, they give away a big prize.”
“How big?” Alvin asked.
“Like a car or something.”
“And there’s three curtains, you know, like, three parts of the stage sealed off with three curtains: curtain number one, curtain number two, and curtain number three. And the big prize is behind one of the curtains but you obviously don’t know which curtain it’s behind. Now, behind one of the other curtains is something sort of nice but not nearly as nice as a car.”
“Like what?” asked Alvin.
“Like something that’s not a car. Doesn’t matter.”
“Like a tea set?”
“Sure. But then behind the third curtain is, like, a goat. So, you, as the contestant get to choose which curtain you want. You follow?”
“Yes. Don’t want the goat. Want the car. But the tea set would be okay.”
“No, you want the car. Stay with me. So, wanting the car, you choose.”
“Isn’t it possible I could hear the goat bleat, thus giving away what curtain it’s behind?”
“Hasn’t happened yet. So, you choose a curtain. Monty Hall then opens one of the curtains that you didn’t pick.”
“The host of the show.”
“And behind that curtain is not the car—which you dearly want. Okay, now, here’s the critical moment. Monty asks you if you want to stay with your initial choice, or you want to change your mind and pick the other closed curtain. Do you pick the other curtain?”
“Absolutely,” said Alvin.
“No!” screamed Nick. “No, it doesn’t matter! You can’t arbitrarily increase your odds when nothing has changed.”
“I told you,” said Tristan. “Thanks, Alvin. You owe me ten bucks, Nick.”
“No, you do,” said Alvin.
“How! How! Math doesn’t work like that!”
Alvin rested his book on his chest. “You have a one in three chance of picking the car. That means Monty retains a two in three chance of not giving you the car. He then offers you the opportunity to exchange your odds for his odds. You accept, thus giving you a sixty-seven percent chance of getting the car instead of your previous thirty-three percent.”
“Even that doesn’t make sense!” Nick countered. “You either have the right curtain, or he has the right curtain, because there’s only two curtains remaining. At best your odds are fifty-fifty either way.”
“Mm. No,” said Alvin. “I have a question. If people win prizes on this show, do they have to pay taxes on what they’ve won, since it’s basically things of monetary value?”
“Yeah,” said Tristan.
“So, if you win a thirty-thousand-dollar car, what would the taxes be? Like, twenty percent or something?”
“So, by winning a car that you probably don’t need to begin with, assuming you drove to the show, you’re now required to pay six-thousand dollars.”
“Um, I guess.”
“And people sign up for this, to be on the show. Hm. Interesting. I have another question. What do you think the taxes on the goat would be?”
Tristan attempted to consider it. Nick didn’t.
“You’re both majorly stupid, you know that?” Nick said.
“You owe me ten dollars,” Tristan said.
“Like hell!” Nick snapped, rising and heading for the door. Tristan followed.
“You owe him ten dollars,” Alvin said, tilting his book back up. “Close the door please.”
Note to the Mother Ship
I believe the standard way of meeting a female person is to go to a bar and ask them to dance. I don’t like to dance because I feel it makes me look silly. Women look great when they’re dancing, men not so much. Dancing men remind me of one of Pavlov’s dogs that got his nose into one of the ether bottles: just gyrating for an excessively transparent reason and drooling. So, I choose not to do that. I’m also afraid that my motives for trying to dance will be obvious to my dance partner and I’ll be seen as a fraud. I’m not sure which is worse: being seen as a moron or a liar. Instead I sit alone at a table or at the bar and attempt to exude a highly attractive level of cool and indifference in the hopes that it will attract a female. So far this hasn’t worked.
I think what I need is something called a “wingman.” I think if you sit in a bar by yourself, even when exuding enormous amounts of coolness, the fact that you’re alone sends off the impression that you’re alone because you’re a psychotic loner-loser person. This is where a wingman comes in handy. What the wingman does is nothing other than sit next to you and talk to you. Of course, that can be annoying too. But the idea is to send a message to a potential mate that you actually know someone who will sit really close to you. It’s a display of trust. So, the female sees someone trusts you enough to sit near you, and so then she has a sense of trust as well.
The problem with this, of course, is that while you’re waiting for a particular female to observe you and develop a sense of trust and belief that you’re not potentially crazy, you have to put up with whatever sports-related, relationship-related, cockamamy political perspective your wingman needs to get off his chest after he’s hit his third beer—not to mention (and this is the worst) a proclivity for dropping by your house unannounced in the middle of the afternoon just to “hang out.” This, however, has led me to a business concept: renting wingmen. I’m calling it “Rent A Friend.” This actually has potential beyond the wingman concept, but I’ll hold off on that for the moment. See, what you do is pay people your age twelve dollars an hour to go with you to bars, sit next to you, and turn to you at regular intervals and ask really brief questions, to which you simply nod or apathetically gesture with your hand that whatever was just said may have validity. At which point you return to focusing on something besides them. You’re thus perceived by the distant female, who’s watching you, as not only safe—because you have a friend—but potentially important given that the friend appears to be subordinate, opening the possibility that you’re one of the royal cousins on holiday, the mysterious CEO of Twitter, or some muckety-muck in the Mafia (which apparently is also a draw—don’t ask me why). That aside, and in short, a person with you conveys to the female that you’re not insane. I’m thinking this needs to be established as step number one.
I’ve composed some more palindromes. Mostly while sitting at the bar. These have preambles so follow along:
Really bad Norwegian beer:
Tor’s Pilsner Wren’s Lips Rot
A woman named Kim offers a fish to the pet sea bird of her friend Mike. The sea bird walks past, uninterested, and snorts a disdainful, “Whatever.” Kim’s boyfriend, observing this, says to her,
“Mike’s albatross is sorta’ blasé, Kim.”
If an entire generation stopped wearing socks and never washed their shoes, we’d have—
A reeking Nike era
Crazy people on Neptune are kept in a—
Neptune nut pen
In the 1890’s the Ute Indians were composing many short musical studies for oboe and bassoon. It was—
A reed Ute etude era
If Edgar Degas had been a brew master instead of a painter, who sold an expensive spicy beer, it would be called—
Degas Regal Lager Saged
Idi Amin, former dictator of Uganda, was a stupid man tutored by an intellectual Scotsman (actually true, don’t ask me how they met). Idi always had a problem telling a mastodon from a cheetah. No matter how often they went over the subject, Idi could still not tell them apart. And so the Scotsman, one day in a fit of frustration, wrote this note and left it on Idi’s pillow:
To Idi—no dots a mastodon—idiot!
As the electric light bulb was round, it was initially called the—
Edison no side
Georg Phillipp Telemann was displeased by all the attention young upstart Franz Josef Haydn was receiving. When interviewed, late in his life, as to what he thought of the young composer, Telemann said—
Rats to Haydn, a dandy, a hot star
The reason why shrimp are curved:
A kibbutz of elves decided to sell their paintings by putting large numbers of them in carts then selling lottery tickets where the winner took the whole lot. It was an—
Elf farm art tram raffle
I just finished watching Charlotte’s Web and am inspired to say–
Spider spins, snips, redips
Archeologist Professor Wiggenhump was eager to prove that large carnivores had inhabited the area we now know as Viet Nam during the Jurassic period. He and his team spent months excavating a site near Viet Nam’s capital city. One late evening his aid rushed in excitedly with a photograph taken earlier that day. “Look! This is a photograph of fossilized dung we took on the outskirts of the city. It appears to have been made by a very large carnivore!” Professor Wiggenhump looked at the photo and exclaimed—
“A Hanoi T-Rex exertion, aha!”